You just have to go and watch this documentary if you didn't see it tonight. You can watch it for free on pbs.org at Frontline. It is a devastating account of American poverty from children's perspectives. Their parents all are working. They still don't have enough to eat or stable places to live. The girls reminded me very much of my friends when I lived in Waterford, CT in the early 70s and other kids I knew in rural Maine in the 60s. I was never quite that poor, though we were pretty close at times. At these friend's houses, I slept over night on beds without sheets, had dinners that weren't dinners and spent time in houses with little to no furniture.
The fact there is not more help for both the kids and their struggling parents then or now (no surprise two of the three families struggling because of health issues) is a disgrace.
The fact that the 'sponsor' of the show was Goldman Sachs hawking the idea that their investment in companies will save the world beggars belief. I suppose we are meant to believe if they were investing in these sad little people's towns all would be well. Disgusting.
What is so gut wrenching about the documentary, made not surprisingly by a British filmmaker, is that the kids are so resilient in one way and so vulnerable in another. They are wise beyond their years. Most of them are having trouble enrolling in school because of instability, however, so what will become of them?
It's a terrifying and fearless look into everything that is wrong with America. Having lived for 8 years in a country, the UK, where there is an actual safety net, I am just mortified Again by my own country. And ashamed.
That's not enough though. Action is necessary. The Occupy movement is part of that, yes. But there needs to be a deeper change in consciousness. I really hope enough people watch this show to begin that shift away from the idiotic idea that 'the market' will save us.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now.